By Xanthe Couture
Release Date: July 14, 2009
For Carrie Doll, growing up as the youngest of 10 children in the small community of Fairview, Alberta, meant that most of her teachers at St Thomas More School had taught her brothers and sisters.
But one teacher, new to the school, would give the future CTV news anchor a perspective on life that continues to guide her today in her approach to work and to raising her two-year-old son.
“Mr Stroh was my high school science teacher. He taught me physics, chemistry and biology, and he just had a different approach than all the other teachers,” Doll says. “He was loved by all and really well respected. He challenged us to think in different ways.”
“When students would get loud in class, most teachers would respond by getting louder. Mr Stroh, however, would do the opposite. He would get quiet. He would stand at the front of the classroom and wait, and you didn’t want to be the last one talking,” Doll explains. “He was subtle, yet effective.”
Stroh’s approach had a lasting impact on Doll, and she says her best example comes from a question on a physics exam that she will forever remember.
“The ‘infamous helicopter question’ was, If a helicopter is accelerating up in the sky and someone throws a ball out, how long will it take for that ball to hit the ground? The question seemed simple; however, everyone neglected to consider that the ball will actually move up with the momentum of the helicopter before it falls down,” says Doll.
“It taught me that sometimes you have to stop and really think about things before just plugging the answer into a set formula. Simply change the way you look at things.”
Fifteen years later, Doll says she still lives by this philosophy: “Change the way you look at things, and things you look at will change.”
“Now, when I discipline my son, I don’t raise my voice. I get down to his level, look him in the eye and talk quietly to him.” She adds, “Mr Stroh planted the seeds of good parenting.”
Mr Stroh remains a close friend of Doll’s and his advice has helped her make decisions in her career.
When Doll interviewed Bill Clinton and was master of ceremonies in front of an audience of thousands during Clinton’s speaking tour stop in Edmonton, in 2006, Mr Stroh was someone Doll looked to for advice while preparing for the occasion.
“I know he will always give me different advice than others,” she says. “Mr Stroh reminded me that Clinton is a person, and reminded me to be myself.”
Because of Mr Stroh’s advice, Doll decided to follow her instincts and deviate from the guidelines provided by Clinton’s advisors by asking him if he would be willing to answer a few “trivia” questions at the end of the formal question period.
Clinton obliged, responding, “Carrie, I’ve got nothing but time.”
Doll was able to gather insights on Clinton that showed a side not often seen by the public, from the unreleased songs on his iPod by Ray Charles, given to him by the music legend himself, to his wish to become a grandfather.
Clinton’s responses to Doll’s questions turned out to be the highlight of the event for many.
“I wouldn’t have used that line of questioning without the advice of Mr Stroh saying, ‘Do what you do best.’”